Tag Archives: England

Why Do I Have Royal Baby Fever?

I’ve got royal baby fever.

There, I said it.

I’ve been following the saga of Will and Kate since their engagement, caught up in the pomp and pageantry of their wedding, admiring her fashion sense, wondering who Prince Harry will finally settle down with. When Kate went into hospital to deliver the baby we now know is named Prince George Alexander Louis, I was on pins and needles all day.

That’s a little embarrassing to admit, but it’s not unique.

Why are we so fascinated by these royals? Why am I so fascinated?

I think it’s a combination of factors. When I was a preteen, I loved anything with a whiff of the Middle Ages, and my current love of A Game of Thrones proves that I never really grew out of that stage. Queens and princes and princesses could hardly be more medieval, despite their continued existence in the world.

But also…I’m a writer. Unanswered questions about people fascinate me.

I want to know what it’s like to grow up as the heir to the throne, especially in a day and age when royalty has gone out of fashion. I want to know what it’s like to be the heir’s younger brother and know you’ll never be king unless your only sibling dies.

I want to know what they do with their days — not just the royal family but anyone in that English high society class. Do they work? How do they find meaning in their days? What’s it like to cling to all those traditions and move in such limited circles?

Of course, those circles aren’t so limited anymore. Back in 2001, when I was visiting Norway (my first trip overseas!), the Norwegian crown prince got married to a commoner, a single mother. I heard some mutterings about that, but it certainly didn’t stop a massive crowd — which I was lucky enough to be a part of — from gathering outside the cathedral in Oslo and cheering wildly as they wed.

But I wonder about the people. About Kate, who comes from a middle-class background and yet learned the upper-class role so well that she married a prince; her accent is impeccable, she always has the right fascinator, she and Will attend high society weddings. But it must be strange for her, and even more so for her parents. And I expect a lot of “old families” are, or were, infuriated to find the prince picking “new money” over their own precious marriage-aged daughters.

And of course, being a royal comes with even more stringent rules and limitations and scrutiny. What’s it like having Queen Elizabeth for a grandmother? Is she a stickler for tradition? Do the choices that Will and Kate make shock her? Does Charles stand up for them? Or have I got the family dynamics all wrong?

I’ll never know the answers to most of these questions. So I hang on the news stories, and soak up what I can, and wonder.

Your turn! Are you a royal-watcher? Why do you think so many people are fascinated by them?

 

The Perils of English Country Walks

Copyright Siri Paulson, 2007

Five years ago, I went to England for Christmas.

I used to hike in the Rockies every summer with my family. So when I discovered there was such a thing as “self-guided walks”, I was thrilled. Three days of strolling through the picturesque English countryside like a couple of Romantic poets? Three nights of sleeping in bed & breakfasts in tiny villages? With our luggage driven ahead to the next night’s stay so we didn’t even have to carry it? And no giant tour bus whisking us from place to place at breakneck speed?

Sign me up! What could possibly go wrong?

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Response: The Woman in Black

I will be the first to admit that I’m not a horror fan. But I am a fan of gothic stories, which is why I decided to see The Woman in Black (2012).

Movie poster for The Woman in Black, 2012

The Woman in Black (2012)

From a gothic perspective, this story has it all — a beautifully decayed manor house, a period setting, deadly supernatural occurrences, a skeptical outsider, a crazy woman, an isolated village full of people behaving strangely, a train, a harsh landscape (in this case a marsh). It also features some very creepy vintage children’s toys.

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